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Converting a MCI bus into an RV...

lbhsbz

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Let me know if you need a place to park/work on it...if I move the boat, that’ll fit in the back....and you won’t need to schlep att your tools and whatever all the way to riverside. Not long term, but I don’t mind a week or two every now and again.

I might even help
 

Outlaw Boat Transport

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Came into a situation where I can grab a Prevost h3-45 bus and was thinking about doing an RV conversion on it. Other than the normal mechanical things to look for in any vehcile, ie leaks near motor/transmission, air lines, bags, air brakes, etc... anyone have experience with these things? Detroit 60 with an Allison B500. Theres a LONG list of maintenance that was done to it, has new tires, and has the CA DPF retrofit already.

I already have a place to store it.

The plan is to upgrade to a class b non commercial and then changing the reg to a "RV" once the conversion is finalized. I've been spending the last few weeks researching and it seems the general consensus is that they're a very well made vehicle and a great platform to start on. 45' is no joke obviously. I think it'll be a fun next project for me. Even more surprising, the wife is on board after showing her some of the conversions. We were looking into getting a small trailer, but were met with a bunch of obstacles. Have joined a few RV/Skoolie/Conversion forums etc to get details on water/sewer systems, inverters, generators, etc... theres some pretty good sources of info, and theres a LOT of scary hacks.

View attachment 930624
(not the picture of the actual unit, but similar. no graphics plain white)
Retro fit DPF filer systems are only good for so long in calif. Check with a CARB office to verify. They will want the engine model number and engine serial number. Both are on a white sticker on the valve cover of the engine. Just telling them that it is a Detroit 60 series is not good enough. get all the info off of the sticker
 

rrrr

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Retro fit DPF filer systems are only good for so long in calif. Check with a CARB office to verify. They will want the engine model number and engine serial number. Both are on a white sticker on the valve cover of the engine. Just telling them that it is a Detroit 60 series is not good enough. get all the info off of the sticker
From the CARB website...



Buyer Beware

Truck engines are required to have diesel particulate filters (DPFs) to comply with California's fleet rules. If you are looking to purchase a truck that is advertised as "compliant," make sure that a filter is present and not broken. Filter cores cost several thousands of dollars and are required to meet the engine or verification approval to be legal to operate.
If your truck engine does not have a diesel particulate filter (2006 MY or older engine), you can only retrofit the engine with a device that has been verified to reduce emissions by CARB to comply with the in-use regulations (see Diesel Emission Control Strategy (DECS) below). Be aware that some companies are advertising and attempting to sell devices or used DPFs that may not qualify for credit toward compliance with CARB in-use diesel engine regulations. Used DPFs cannot be sold for re-installation on another vehicle.

What to look for when buying a used vehicle

When purchasing a "CARB compliant" used vehicle, be sure to confirm the OEM filter (2007 or newer engines) or retrofit filter is present and working correctly. To ensure the vehicle meets CARB requirements, have it inspected before purchase by the engine dealership or authorized installer (if it is a retrofit). If your PM filter core is cracked or missing, it can cost you thousands of dollars and violate California's anti-tampering law, Vehicle Code Section 27156 (VC 27156).


Rut Roh....
 

4Waters

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Retro fit DPF filer systems are only good for so long in calif. Check with a CARB office to verify. They will want the engine model number and engine serial number. Both are on a white sticker on the valve cover of the engine. Just telling them that it is a Detroit 60 series is not good enough. get all the info off of the sticker
From the CARB website...



Buyer Beware

Truck engines are required to have diesel particulate filters (DPFs) to comply with California's fleet rules. If you are looking to purchase a truck that is advertised as "compliant," make sure that a filter is present and not broken. Filter cores cost several thousands of dollars and are required to meet the engine or verification approval to be legal to operate.
If your truck engine does not have a diesel particulate filter (2006 MY or older engine), you can only retrofit the engine with a device that has been verified to reduce emissions by CARB to comply with the in-use regulations (see Diesel Emission Control Strategy (DECS) below). Be aware that some companies are advertising and attempting to sell devices or used DPFs that may not qualify for credit toward compliance with CARB in-use diesel engine regulations. Used DPFs cannot be sold for re-installation on another vehicle.

What to look for when buying a used vehicle

When purchasing a "CARB compliant" used vehicle, be sure to confirm the OEM filter (2007 or newer engines) or retrofit filter is present and working correctly. To ensure the vehicle meets CARB requirements, have it inspected before purchase by the engine dealership or authorized installer (if it is a retrofit). If your PM filter core is cracked or missing, it can cost you thousands of dollars and violate California's anti-tampering law, Vehicle Code Section 27156 (VC 27156).


Rut Roh....
It's private use, not for hire or for use commercially so it won't need it but he will need to get it registered as a motorcoach asap, he needs to get the bare minimum done (bed and kitchen sink, it already has a crapper) so he can transfer it.
 

zhandfull

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From the CARB website...



Buyer Beware

Truck engines are required to have diesel particulate filters (DPFs) to comply with California's fleet rules. If you are looking to purchase a truck that is advertised as "compliant," make sure that a filter is present and not broken. Filter cores cost several thousands of dollars and are required to meet the engine or verification approval to be legal to operate.
If your truck engine does not have a diesel particulate filter (2006 MY or older engine), you can only retrofit the engine with a device that has been verified to reduce emissions by CARB to comply with the in-use regulations (see Diesel Emission Control Strategy (DECS) below). Be aware that some companies are advertising and attempting to sell devices or used DPFs that may not qualify for credit toward compliance with CARB in-use diesel engine regulations. Used DPFs cannot be sold for re-installation on another vehicle.

What to look for when buying a used vehicle

When purchasing a "CARB compliant" used vehicle, be sure to confirm the OEM filter (2007 or newer engines) or retrofit filter is present and working correctly. To ensure the vehicle meets CARB requirements, have it inspected before purchase by the engine dealership or authorized installer (if it is a retrofit). If your PM filter core is cracked or missing, it can cost you thousands of dollars and violate California's anti-tampering law, Vehicle Code Section 27156 (VC 27156).


Rut Roh....
Think there is an exemption for RV’s. Not sure how that will work out on a conversion from commercial to RV though.
 

Bails

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Let me know if you need a place to park/work on it...if I move the boat, that’ll fit in the back....and you won’t need to schlep att your tools and whatever all the way to riverside. Not long term, but I don’t mind a week or two every now and again.

I might even help
Kayotic, take him up on the offer and I'll come over and help also. I think your fucking nuts and I love it.
 

buck35

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How does one deal with all the windows,or cutouts once removed?
 

outboard_256

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class a if it were to be kept as a bus. It’ll have the reg changed to an RV when conversion is done and then a class b non commercial with air brake endorsement works.
So you drove it from Bakersfield to the OC with no Class A license and no insurance? And you plan on moving it back and forth to riverside? How does all that work until you actually get it titled as an RV with DMV? Feels like that is the last step to all this process since you need the conversion complete to get it changed over.
 

gqchris

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@ka0tyk you are a maniac. I have anxiety just thinking about this project.
Me too! I lack the ambition for such a project! It reminds me of when I worked at Long Beach Yacht sales. The Service manager was allowed to keep his RV on site for an "overhaul". He started and discovered it had frame cracks. Long story short, he did a frame off restoration on a like 1986 Corrugated Sides junk RV. Took him 3 years, and he got burnt out on the last mile. He wanted me to list it on Ebay, it fetched like $3,000 at the end! He didn't seem to care. I think the project gave him an excuse to stay at work late nights and not have to deal with his nagging wife.

I am following this like a hawk. So badass and cant wait to watch it as it comes along.
 

ka0tyk

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Last night and this morning were massive clear outs. Got the overhead compartments chopped up and taken down. They were insanely heavy. All aluminum extruded with channels and stitch welds etc.

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I decided for the sake of forward progress just to let someone deal with the recycling effort. It would’ve taken me numerous loads to get it all done. This guy wife and son came out and worked their butts off loading it up into a poor pickup truck.

Now it’s closer to being cleared out. I still have the floor side channels to deal with. The Allen bolts are extremely stubborn. But those humps on the floor are also aluminum. Maybe I’ll take it to irwindale once it’s all gutted and see what she does in the 1/8th. Hah.
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traquer

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This is badass! Can't wait to see more each time you post.

Side note: keep all the fasteners you come across! They're probably SS or high grade.
 

spectras only

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I would install a mid entry door near where you have a window open. Never liked the idea of the door placement on DP motorhomes It always reminded me of boarding a Greyhound bus. :p
 

240Hallett

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Do you think there’s any chance that those long extrusions were structural to the coach body?
 

ka0tyk

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Do you think there’s any chance that those long extrusions were structural to the coach body?
considering the beams that go side to side are doubled up stainless tubing, I’d doubt it. Plus mci and prevost coaches are sold to conversion companies that add sliders etc for factory RV conversions.
 

ka0tyk

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Taking advantage of the end of the year. We get 4 “big item” pickups a year. Each pickup allows for 10 items. So with this year and the next I should be able to have the whole bus gutted and hauled away.

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ka0tyk

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As far as the earlier comment about the interior adding to the structural integrity... I think it should be fine. These cross beams look pretty beefy. Plus I imagine it’s like a boat, it’s gonna twist and wiggle. Just gotta take that into consideration when building.

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ka0tyk

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Let me know if you need a place to park/work on it...if I move the boat, that’ll fit in the back....and you won’t need to schlep att your tools and whatever all the way to riverside. Not long term, but I don’t mind a week or two every now and again.

I might even help
I am curious on your thoughts on removing the aluminum channels down the sides of the bus. They’re held on with these black lookin Allen head bolts. The 3 I tried to remove all stripped and apparently that’s par for the course according to other people who have done the conversions too. They’re kinda buried in this channel so a grinder doesn’t really reach. I could drill em out? Theres probably 30 of them holding these channels on to the walls. That’s a lot of drilling.
 

lbhsbz

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I am curious on your thoughts on removing the aluminum channels down the sides of the bus. They’re held on with these black lookin Allen head bolts. The 3 I tried to remove all stripped and apparently that’s par for the course according to other people who have done the conversions too. They’re kinda buried in this channel so a grinder doesn’t really reach. I could drill em out? Theres probably 30 of them holding these channels on to the walls. That’s a lot of drilling.
I like fucked up bolts. Take a picture. What size tool do they require?
 

lbhsbz

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Button heads are stupid....How important is it to get them out vs simply drilling the heads off of them?

I imagine they're going into stainless, which might be why they're seized....or with the build quality I've heard about on these buses, they're loctited. I'd start by grabbing a shitty allen wrench of the right size and a propane/mapp pro torch...heat that fucker red hot and stick it in the bolt...let it heat soak. Try it a few times. Then grab a good tool and try to remove it. You could try the same principle if you've got a soldering iron/gun with any sort of respectable wattage. Depending on the relative flammability of surrounding materials, you might even just hit the head of the bolt with a torch...one of those cigar lighter butane things might be controllable enough to concentrate on the head of the bolt...I'd still have an extinguisher (bucket of water) near by and probably grab a few pieces of sheet metal to use as heat shields.

Whatever method you choose to heat it...Use a allen socket with an extension and give it a few hammer smacks before attempting to loosen it...this simple trick works wonders.

If that doesn't work, you could try angle grinder with a thin cutoff wheel, then use a hollow ground bit in an impact driver...but that probably won't work.

Option 3 is to drill 'em. A 5/16 drill will pop the head right off.
 

spectras only

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Check out the paint on this one. Interior is nice too.
 

ka0tyk

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Try heat and an old school hammer impact tool. They make a bitchin induction heater for stubborn bolts now,
I tried that. I don’t think it works the same with an Allen like it does with a Phillips. The newer busses have changed those bolts to Phillips. Go figure.

I’ll try heat and then dynamite.
 

bonesfab

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I tried that. I don’t think it works the same with an Allen like it does with a Phillips. The newer busses have changed those bolts to Phillips. Go figure.

I’ll try heat and then dynamite.
Phillips head would be worse in my opinion. Buy a few good drill bits..
 

ka0tyk

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Check out the paint on this one. Interior is nice too.
pretty sweet! Although at that price Id have about a 310k budget to do my conversion. Heh.
 

evantwheeler

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I am curious on your thoughts on removing the aluminum channels down the sides of the bus. They’re held on with these black lookin Allen head bolts. The 3 I tried to remove all stripped and apparently that’s par for the course according to other people who have done the conversions too. They’re kinda buried in this channel so a grinder doesn’t really reach. I could drill em out? Theres probably 30 of them holding these channels on to the walls. That’s a lot of drilling.
My Fortravel floor and undercarriage framing is secured using Rolok bolts, these ones you're dealing with area probably the same. It looks like a standard bolt head, but these bolts create their own threads while they are installed. IE, they basically weld/gall themselves into the material they are screwed into.


I don't think you're getting the bolts out.

You can't get a 6" grinding/cutting wheel in there to take the head off?
 
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Universal Elements

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If they are stainless steel, get some good quality aircraft grade cobalt drill bits to drill them out.
 

nordictom

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Screw off neighbors. I’m legal now. Go pound sand. 3 days of happiness.
View attachment 953709
LOL! F Off HB parking Nazi's! Yes, I got a few HB parking tickets, in front of my house. Cool project, I have a 20' skeleton of a enclosed trailer. Always wanted to do a build on it. Maybe this will motivate me. I am in HB also, near Beach & Yorktown. let me know if you need any help.

NT
 

merc_400r

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I use this place for work on my country coach. They are doing a full MCI bus conversion too. Exactly the same thing your doing but on an older bus. When I saw it they just started on it sanding and bodywork on the outside. They were in the process of gutting the inside. Looks like they are almost finished as I found some videos on it. Looks like it came out nice.

I don't know if you know what goes on in building a coach but these videos will give you a glimpse of what is in store for you.






 

zhandfull

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I use this place for work on my country coach. They are doing a full MCI bus conversion too. Exactly the same thing your doing but on an older bus. When I saw it they just started on it sanding and bodywork on the outside. They were in the process of gutting the inside. Looks like they are almost finished as I found some videos on it. Looks like it came out nice.

I don't know if you know what goes on in building a coach but these videos will give you a glimpse of what is in store for you.






Thanks for sharing that is an awesome build. Was surprised they were located nearby in Fontana.
 

monkeyswrench

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@ka0tyk , do any of the people converting use any of the existing plumbing in the back for a master/master bath setup? 2br/2 1/2bth would be pretty cool. Following this one, kind of a dream build!
 

fmo24

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@ka0tyk , do any of the people converting use any of the existing plumbing in the back for a master/master bath setup? 2br/2 1/2bth would be pretty cool. Following this one, kind of a dream build!
Would be tough to do two bed two bath unless you ran the hallway down one side The full length. Ours has a bath and a half. Full bath across rear of coach. Half bath in middle of coach. Bedroom between full and half bath
 

Ol Man

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I use this place for work on my country coach. They are doing a full MCI bus conversion too. Exactly the same thing your doing but on an older bus. When I saw it they just started on it sanding and bodywork on the outside. They were in the process of gutting the inside. Looks like they are almost finished as I found some videos on it. Looks like it came out nice.

I don't know if you know what goes on in building a coach but these videos will give you a glimpse of what is in store for you.
I had Leisure remove a dishwasher and install a stove top/oven in its place and a few other things. They did a great job. I think they have a very nice operation and would recommend them.
 

RiverDave

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Is there any room underneath to do 1larger unit ducted? My rig has 2 rooftop AC's and they work but struggle to keep my dark coach cool during the summer time especially at the river. Realistically I should have a 3rd unit. I have a few friends who have smaller coaches but the AC's are mounted underneath to the frame and you could hang meat in there motorhomes. Big difference in how they cool when we are all camped together.

Looking forward to a build thread!
interesting.. when I was motor home shopping I was told to stay away from the basement AC’s by several members
 
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